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By Dimakatso Modipa

Gauteng wardens known as green bean or Amapanyaza fighting crime in Gauteng
Gauteng wardens known as green bean or Amapanyaza fighting crime in Gauteng

Premier Panyaza Lesufi has noted with great concern claims circulating on social media that the Nasi iSpani Mass Recruitment Programme has been discontinued.

The claims result from a leaked Internal Circular from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development meant for the Green Army EPWP participants informing them that their 1-year contract ended in May 2024.

Some in the public space have confused the Gauteng Traffic Wardens with the EPWP Green Army; whilst the Gauteng Traffic Wardens are responsible for keeping provincial residents safe from criminal activity, the EPWP Green Army is responsible for cleaning up the environment and removing waste.

The one-year Green Army EPWP programme was launched in May 2023, and 6000 beneficiaries were recruited to assist communities in establishing food gardens and general environment maintenance.

Since its inception, the Nasi iSpani programme saw thousands of unemployed Gauteng residents absorbed across government departments on a permanent, temporary, and contract basis.

Progressively, the GPG has implemented targeted budget reprioritisation and effectiveness in line with the national treasury recommendations and provincial government’s desired outcomes, including accommodating personnel costs.

A standardised formula has been adopted for contract extensions for all Nasi’ Ispani programme beneficiaries, including Green Army EPWP beneficiaries.

In April 2024, the Nasi iSpani programme was amplified with the launch of the iCrush NoLova Jobs and Skills Programme, which offers skills development, training, and meaningful job opportunities in partnership with the Department of Labour.

Some temporarily employed Nasi Ispani beneficiaries will also be considered for this labour activation programme.

“At the end of the 6 th administration we established a Task Team to take stock of all the contracts that were coming to an end.

Since being elected as the Premier in the 7th administration, a report was presented and adopted on how we would manage the contracts that are coming to an end”, said Premier Panyaza Lesufi.

“We wish to allay all Nasi iSpani beneficiaries’ fears that this groundbreaking initiative is still very much intact.

“We remain resolute in our endeavour to address the challenge of unemployment in our province,” he added.

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